Britten Sinfonia

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Britten Sinfonia
Chamber orchestra on period instruments
Founded 1992 (1992)
Location Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
Website www.brittensinfonia.com

Britten Sinfonia is a chamber orchestra ensemble based in Cambridge, UK. It was created in 1992, following an initiative from Eastern Arts and a number of key figures including Nicholas Cleobury, who recognised the need for an orchestra in the East of England. It is a flexible ensemble composed of chamber musicians in Europe. The players are freelance musicians who are employed on a project-by-project basis and the ensemble performs around 70 concerts per year and works with hundreds of people in the communities where the orchestra is resident.

It is a not-for-profit organisation, and a registered charity.

Mission statement[edit]

"To inspire people with fresh and exciting performances of great music both through the work we present and the way in which we present it, with an approach recognized for its integrity, intelligence and, above all, excellence." [1]

Britten Sinfonia & guests perform at the London Jazz Festival

The orchestra is acclaimed for its virtuoso musicianship, an inspired approach to concert programming which makes bold, intelligent connections across 400 years of repertoire, and a versatility that is second to none. Britten Sinfonia breaks the mould by not having a principal conductor or director, instead choosing to collaborate with a range of the finest international guest artists from across the musical spectrum, resulting in performances of rare insight and energy.

Recent seasons have included projects with Brad Mehldau, Thomas Adès, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, James MacMillan, Ian Bostridge, Joanna MacGregor, Masaaki Suzuki, Polyphony, director Katie Mitchell, Imogen Cooper, Dhafer Youssef, These New Puritans, Jaga Jazzist and Rufus Wainwright. In 2013-14 Britten Sinfonia collaborates with artists including Paul Lewis, Ian Bostridge, Netia Jones, Mark Padmore, Pekka Kuusisto, Iestyn Davies, Patricia Kopatchinskaja and the Richard Alston Dance Company with premières from composers including Sally Beamish, Roderick Williams, Mark Simpson, Brett Dean and Philip Cashian.

Britten Sinfonia performs in concert halls around Europe and Festivals and is a regular at the BBC Proms and has residencies in Cambridge, Norwich, and Brighton with a concert series at London’s Barbican Centre and Wigmore Hall. The ensemble enjoys an international profile, a recent highlight being a tour of South America, and is frequently heard on disc, BBC Radio 3 and commercial radio. The orchestra has received awards including a Gramophone Award and in 2007 won the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Ensemble Award in recognition for its work.

Creative learning[edit]

The Creative Learning department of the Sinfonia provides educational support to the mainstream concert season. These activities involve:
- Pre-concert talks
- The SinfoniaCast, a podcast featuring interviews with guest artists and composers
- Projects specifically for young people and schools
- Family Music Days, and
- Music-based training for businesses and corporations.

All of these activities are led by Britten Sinfonia’s musicians and associated composers and workshop leaders. For audiences of all ages and levels of experience, the Creative Learning programme offers opportunities to meet, talk to and work with performers and composers; discover more about the ensemble's wide-ranging repertoire; and develop new musical knowledge and skills.

Reviews and quotes[edit]

'...infused with irresistible energy...cogent and compelling' - The Times [2]

'Britten Sinfonia has quietly established itself as one of the countries most flexible chamber orchestras' - Evening Standard [3]

References[edit]

The Britten Sinfonia Official Website
The SinfoniaCasts

  1. ^ From the Britten Sinfonia Official website: www.brittensinfonia.co.uk
  2. ^ Jason Yarde, The Times, November 2005
  3. ^ Nick Kimberly, Evening Standard, 11 December 2007